SAC Founder Avoids $5.5 Million Divorce Fraud Punishment

Steven A. Cohen, the billionaire investor and founder of SAC Capital Advisors LP, recently won a dismissal of a lawsuit in which his ex-wife alleged he defrauded her out of millions of dollars when they divorced in 1990.

The chief judge in the case, Loretta Preska, said Patricia Cohen was unable to prove her husband hid $5.5 million he had obtained after a 1986 real estate deal in New York City went south. According to Ms. Cohen, hiding this money allowed him to lower his net worth in court documents, which in turn lowered the amount of money she was eligible to come away with in the divorce.

This divorce was filed two years before Mr. Cohen created SAC Capital Advisors, which earned him his fortune and fame. He is now worth approximately $12.7 billion.

Proof necessary when levying allegations in divorce

As in any other legal proceeding, the burden of proof is on the accuser when one spouse alleges the other concealed assets. Without evidence of the existence of these assets or their attempted (or actual) concealment, the person making the allegations has no leverage.

In this particular case, it does not appear that Ms. Cohen is prepared to accept the judge’s decision. Her lawyer indicated she would have a better chance in front of a jury and that she will likely appeal this ruling. However, it is the same situation when facing a jury — she must be able to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Mr. Cohen concealed assets in an effort to diminish his net worth at the time of the divorce. Considering the divorce occurred 26 years ago, such proof could be difficult to obtain.

To learn more about how the asset division process works and how you might challenge a judge’s decision, contact the experienced Long Island divorce lawyers at Bryan L. Salamone & Associates.

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